Donald Trump on War & Peace

2016 Republican nominee for President; 2000 Reform Primary Challenger for President


Disallow North Korea from developing nuclear delivery system

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that North Korea won't reach the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon that will be able to hit the United States: "North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won't happen!" the president-elect wrote.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said during his annual New Year's address that preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile have "reached the final stage." The development came after the country claims it tested its first hydrogen bomb last year.

North Korea, which has been at odds with the United States since the start of the Korean War in 1950, first tested a nuclear weapon in 2006. A nuclear test was conducted last year on Jan. 6.

Source: Politico.com analysis of 2017 Trump transition Twitter post , Jan 2, 2017

We need element of surprise; stop saying where we'll attack

TRUMP: About three months ago, I started reading that they're going to attack Mosul. Whatever happened to the element of surprise. We announce we're going after Mosul. These people have all left. They've all left. So we're now fighting for Mosul, that we had. All she had to do was stay there, and now we're going in to get it. The leaders that we wanted to get are all gone because they're smart. They say, "what do we need this for?"
Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News , Oct 19, 2016

Military and cyberwar to prevent ISIS genocide of Christians

ISIS is hunting down and exterminating what it calls the nation of the cross. ISIS is carrying out a genocide against Christians in the Middle East. We cannot let this evil continue--can't let it. ISIS must be destroyed--have to; have no choice.

To defeat ISIS, we must use military warfare, but also cyber warfare, financial warfare and ideological warfare. It's a whole different ballgame today than it was 50 years ago.

We must also establish an international goal with our allies of defeating radical Islamic terrorism--words that our president won't use and that Hillary Clinton won't use. Just like we won the Cold War by identifying our enemy and building a consensus to guide a long-term strategy, so too must we do the same with Islamic terrorism.

By the way, President Obama has allowed Syrian refugees to pour into our country at unbelievable rates, but it's almost impossible to get a Christian in from Syria. They take others, but they don't take Christians--very, very, very rare.

Source: 11th Annual Value Voters Summit - 2016 , Sep 9, 2016

2011: Knock out Ghadafi; 2016: Libya war was a mistake

CLINTON: With respect to Libya, there's no difference between my opponent and myself. He's on record extensively supporting intervention in Libya, when Gadhafi was threatening to massacre his population. I put together a coalition that included NATO, included the Arab League, and we were able to save lives.

TRUMP: She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed the you-know-what out of Gadhafi.

USA TODAY Fact-Check: This isn't the first time Trump has ignored his past support for the U.S. intervention in Libya. During the 10th GOP debate, Trump said he had "never discussed that subject" when Sen. Ted Cruz called him out on supporting U.S. action in the country. But Trump said in a February 2011 YouTube video that the U.S. should go into Libya "on a humanitarian basis" and "knock [Gadhafi] out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively and save the lives."

Source: USA Today Fact-check on 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum , Sep 7, 2016

I would be slower to go to war than Hillary

I would be very, very cautious. I think I'd be a lot slower. She has a happy trigger. You look, she votes for the wars, she goes in Libya. I think it's a tremendous burden. I think there is no greater burden that anybody could have.

I am totally prepared. But remember this. I found this subject and these subjects of interest all of my life. This hasn't been over the last 14 months. I've found these substantiates of tremendous interest. That's why they were asking me about Iraq 14 years ago. They were asking me these questions. They don't ask businesspeople those questions.

Right here is a list that was just printed today of 88 admirals and generals that I meet with and I talk to. I'm doing a lot of different things. I am studying. You see General Flynn and you see some of the folks that we have, and they're scattered throughout the audience. So we have admirals, we have generals, we have colonels. We have a lot of people that I respect.

Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer , Sep 7, 2016

I could've negotiated Reagan's nuclear arms reduction deal

In Trump's portrayal, the United States was a sucker in a worldwide hustle.

Trump had previously said that he was more than capable of pulling off the kind of nuclear-weapons-reduction deal that would become one of Reagan's proudest achievements. Trump told a Washington Post reporter in 1984 that he dreamed of employing his negotiating skills on nuclear disarmament talks with the Soviets. "Some people have an ability to negotiate. It's an art you're basically born with. You either have it or you don't." It didn't matter that Trump was no expert on missiles. "It would take an hour and a half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles. I think I know most of it anyway. You're talking about just getting updated on a situation."

Source: Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish & Mark Fisher, p.276 , Aug 23, 2016

2003: lost respect for Bush over handling of Iraq War

Trump said his votes for president were consistently Republican. He voted for Bush in 2000 and said he lost respect for the forty-third president because of his handling of the war in Iraq, which he would later call a "disaster." Trump maintained that he had been against the war from the beginning, but when radio host Howard Stern asked Trump on September 11, 2002, if he supported going to war--six months before the invasion--he responded, "Yeah, I guess so. You know, I wish the first time it was done correctly." (Five days after the invasion began, a Washington Post reporter overheard Trump at an Oscars after-party calling the war a "mess.") Still, he voted for Bush again in 2004 because he felt it was important to "carry the Republican line." Recalling the 2004 vote, Trump said he showed his distance from Bush by not throwing fund-raisers for him. He gave the campaign $2000, according to federal filings.
Source: Trump Revealed, by Michael Kranish & Mark Fisher, p.290 , Aug 23, 2016

We would be better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now

Sen. Ted CRUZ: Both Donald and Senator Rubio have agreed with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: in Libya, they agreed with the Obama/Clinton policy of toppling the government in Libya. That was a disaster.

TRUMP: I was in favor of Libya? I never discussed that subject. We would be so much better off if Gadhafi were in charge right now. If these politicians went to the beach and didn't do a thing, and we had Saddam Hussein and if we had Gadhafi in charge, instead of having terrorism all over the place, at least they killed terrorists, all right? And I'm not saying they were good--because they were bad, they were really bad--but we don't know what we're getting. You look at Libya right now, ISIS, as we speak, is taking over their oil. As we speak, it's a total mess. We would have been better off if the politicians took a day off instead of going into war.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Blunder to announce withdrawal timetable from Afghanistan

Unfortunately, it may require boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State. I don't think it's necessary to broadcast our strategy. (In fact, one of the most ridiculous policy blunders President Obama has committed was to announce our timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.) If military advisers recommend it, we should commit a limited--but sufficient--number of troops to fight on the ground.
Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p. 37 , Nov 3, 2015

Afghanistan war made a mess, but troops need to stay

Trump said the US was right to invade Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks--a reversal of his position earlier this month when he called the war a "mistake."

"We made a mistake going into Iraq. I've never said we made a mistake going into Afghanistan," Trump told CNN. Trump said on October 6 that he believed entering Afghanistan was a mistake and worried about U.S. forces getting stuck there.

"At some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years? It's going to be a long time," Trump said, when asked about Afghanistan. "We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. We had real brilliant thinkers that didn't know what the hell they were doing. And it's a mess. And at this point, you probably have to stay because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave."

Trump first signaled his backtrack when he said Afghanistan is "where we should have gone," meaning the US should have focused its attention on Afghanistan over Iraq.

Source: Tom LoBianco on CNN, "Afghanistan war not a mistake" , Oct 20, 2015

Strengthen military, but act defensively

Q: You say, in personal relations, you're a counterpuncher. You don't hit until you are hit. Is that a good way to think about the way you would use military force as a president?

TRUMP: I'm the most militaristic person on your show. I want to have a much stronger military. I want it to be so strong that nobody is going to mess with us. I want to take care of our vets, who are treated terribly, like third-class citizens.

Q: Well, let's take an example of some case where you may or may not use military force. It turns out Assad apparently used chemical weapons on his own people.

TRUMP: Well, you know, the time to have done it would have been when he drew the line in the sand.

Q: So, you would have done it in that case?

TRUMP: I might have gone in. Now it's such a mess over there, with everybody involved, and the airspace is very limited. It's not that big of an area. The airspace is very limited. So are we going to start World War III over Syria?

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer , Oct 11, 2015

Radical violent Islam that must be feared, not Islam itself

I feel strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people. But there is a problem. I mean, there's no question about it. And, you know, we can be politically correct, and we can say there is no problem whatsoever. But the fact is, there is a problem with some. And it's a very severe problem. And it's a problem that's taking place all over the world. But I have such great respect and love for so many of the people. I mean, they are great people.
Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

Iraq won't be a democracy when we leave; it'll be a mess

My life is seeing everything in terms of "How would I handle that?" Look at the war in Iraq and the mess that we're in. I would never have handled it that way. Does anybody really believe that Iraq is going to be a wonderful democracy where people are going to run down to the voting box and gently put in their ballot and the winner is happily going to step up to lead the county? C'mon. Two minutes after we leave, there's going to be a revolution, and the meanest, toughest, smartest, most vicious guy will take over. And he'll have weapons of mass destruction, which Saddam didn't have.
Source: Esquire magazine cover story / interview , Aug 1, 2004

All of the reasons for Iraq war were blatantly wrong

What was the purpose of this whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed. And what about the people coming back with no arms and legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who've been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All this for nothing!
Source: Esquire magazine cover story / interview , Aug 1, 2004

Be tougher: bin Laden should have been caught long ago

I would have been tougher on terrorism. Bin Laden would have been caught long ago. Tell me, how is it possible that we can't find a guy who's six foot six and supposedly needs a dialysis machine? Can you explain that one to me? We have all out energies focused on one place--where they shouldn't be focused.

When I look at some of the things that happened in government, I can't believe it. Countries that we're protecting are screwing us on oil prices. It's unthinkable. I wouldn't stand for it.

Source: Esquire magazine cover story / interview , Aug 1, 2004

John McCain's actions in Vietnam were not "heroic"

In a televised interview, Donald Trump--in his assessment of the candidates--wondered aloud about McCain's war record. Reading the McCain story, Trump opined, one might hesitate to call McCain's experience "heroic." Of course, McCain never pointed to his own experience as heroic--quite the contrary. "Incidents of surpassing courage and defiance were commonplace.and they made my own attempts at rebellion seem minor in comparison." Throughout Faith of My Fathers, McCain referred to the heroism of his comrades, whose actions and bravery, McCain suggests, far exceeded his. He was fortunate to serve in the company of heroes, who lifted up and improved McCain, and the others, by their selfless example.
Source: John McCain: An Essay, by John Karaagac, p.117-118 , Sep 20, 2000

Use force to stop North Korean nuke development

[In a Trump presidency], North Korea would suddenly discover that its worthless promises of civilized behavior would cut no ice. I would let Pyongyang know in no uncertain terms that it can either get out of the nuclear arms race or expect a rebuke similar to the one Ronald Reagan delivered to Ghadhafi in 1986. I don’t think anybody is going to accuse me of tiptoeing through the issues or tap-dancing around them either. Who else in public life has called for a pre-emptive strike on North Korea?
Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.274 , Jul 2, 2000

No humanitarian intervention; only to direct threats

My rules of engagement are pretty simple. If we are going to intervene in a conflict it had better pose a direct threat to our interest- one definition of “direct” being a threat so obvious that most Americans will know where the hot spot is on the globe and will quickly understand why we are getting involved. The threat should be so direct that our leaders, including our president, should be able to make the case clearly and concisely, which has certainly not been the case regarding the terrible events in Yugoslavia.

At the same time, we must not get involved in a long-festering conflict for humanitarian reasons. If that’s our standard, we should have troops stationed all over Africa, and much of Asia as well.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.141-42 , Jul 2, 2000

Donald Trump on Middle East

One-time missile strike in response to Syria chemical attack

As a private citizen and candidate, Trump argued that Syria's civil war was not America's problem. But as president, Trump launched a missile strike on Russia's ally Assad, after the Kremlin intervened in last year's election on his behalf.

The missile strike, in response to a chemical weapons attack, was intended to be a limited, one-time operation, and the president seemed determined to quickly move on. Critics, including Senator Marco Rubio, argued that Syria's President Assad felt free to launch a chemical attack precisely because the Trump administration had given him a green light.

Trump's action in Syria was welcomed by many traditional American allies who had fretted over Obama's reluctance to take a greater leadership role in the Middle East. After the missile strike, Israeli news outlets were filled with headlines like "The Americans Are Back," and European leaders expressed relief both that he had taken action and that he had not gone too far.

Source: N.Y. Times on Trump Administration promises & actions , Apr 8, 2017

OpEd: now believes that US has national interest in Syria

Intentionally or not, Trump has adopted language similar to that used by Obama & many other presidents in defining American priorities in Syria. While in the past Trump said the US did not have a national interest in Syria, last week he said instability there was "threatening the US and its allies." He also said that "America stands for justice," espousing a responsibility to act in cases of human rights abuses, as other presidents have at times. Until now, Trump has largely eschewed such language.
Source: N.Y. Times on Trump Administration promises & actions , Apr 8, 2017

Stay out of Syria, and keep Syrians out of America

Source: Straits Times (Singapore) on Trump Administration promises , Apr 8, 2017

2013: warned Obama against bombing Syria; 2017: bombed Syria

Trump had a blunt warning for his predecessor. "We should stay the hell out of Syria," he wrote on Twitter in June 2013, after Obama directed US forces to increase support to Syrian rebels in the wake of a deadly chemical weapons.

Nearly four years later, now president himself and grappling with how to respond to another chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government, Trump ignored his own warnings and did what Obama threatened but never carried out: order a missile strike targeting assets of President Assad.

To understand the magnitude of Trump's reversal, look at his Twitter account. Trump posted dozens of tweets about the conflict in the years before he declared his candidacy for the White House, and frequently did so during the campaign as well. He carved out a staunchly noninterventionist stance on the conflict and criticised Obama's approach as plodding. But he also made one thing clear: If he was in charge, any action would be swift and secretive to catch Assad off guard.

Source: Straits Times (Singapore) on Trump Administration promises , Apr 8, 2017

ISIS are lawless savages; extinguish them from our planet

As promised, I directed the Department of Defense to develop a plan to demolish and destroy ISIS--a network of lawless savages that have slaughtered Muslims and Christians, and men, women, and children of all faiths and beliefs. We will work with our allies, including our friends and allies in the Muslim world, to extinguish this vile enemy from our planet.
Source: 2017 State of the Union address to Congress , Feb 28, 2017

If we overthrow Assad, we could end up with worse than Assad

CLINTON: I think we can take back Mosul, and then we can move on into Syria and take back Raqqa.

TRUMP: Assad turned out to be a lot tougher than she thought. Everyone thought he was gone two years ago. He aligned with Russia. He now also aligned with Iran, who we made very powerful. We don't know who the rebels are. But if they overthrow Assad, as bad as Assad is, and he's a bad guy, but you may very well end up with worse than Assad.

CLINTON: I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I'm aware of the concerns that you have expressed. This would not be done on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground.

TRUMP: We are so outplayed on missiles, on cease-fires. But our country is so outplayed by Putin and Assad, and by the way--and by Iran. Nobody can believe how stupid our leadership is.

Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News , Oct 19, 2016

Iran is taking over Iraq

TRUMP: Iran should write us a letter of thank you, the stupidest deal of all time, a deal that's going to give Iran absolutely nuclear weapons. Iran should write us yet another letter saying thank you very much, because Iran, as I said many years ago, Iran is taking over Iraq, something they've wanted to do forever, but we've made it so easy for them.
Source: Third 2016 Presidential Debate moderated by Fox News , Oct 19, 2016

Unbelievable stupidity in our Mideast policy

The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy. They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three or four weeks. All of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can't they do it quietly? Why can't they make it a sneak attack, and after the attack, inform the American public that we've knocked out the leaders, we've had a tremendous success? How stupid is our country?
Source: Second 2016 Presidential Debate at Washington University , Oct 9, 2016

FactCheck: Would shoot Iranian warships too near US warships

Hillary asserted, "The other day, I saw Donald saying that there were some Iranian sailors on a ship in the waters off of Iran, and they were taunting American sailors who were on a nearby ship. He said, 'you know, if they taunted our sailors, I'd blow them out of the water and start another war.' That's not good judgment." Trump replied, "That would not start a war. No, they were taunting us." Is it true that he said it as Hillary asserted?

Trump indeed recently said, "With Iran, when they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats, and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn't be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water." Wonkette.com reports that on Sept. 4, seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard patrol boats approached the USS Firebolt in the Persian Gulf; one Iranian boat came within 100 yards of the USS Firebolt. Wonkette.com concludes that Trump's tough talk was cheered by the crowd at the Values Voter Summit, which chanted "USA! USA!" and "Shoot them!"

Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on First 2016 Presidential Debate , Sep 28, 2016

I have a plan to defeat ISIS, but I won't broadcast it

Q: Yesterday, you said, "We're going to convene my top generals and they will have 30 days to submit a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS." Is the plan you've been hiding?

TRUMP: No. But when I do come up with a plan, I may love what the generals come back with.

Q: Do you have a secret plan to defeat ISIS?

TRUMP: I have a plan. But, look, if I win, I don't want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is. If I like, maybe, a combination of my plan and the generals' plan, I'm not going to call you up and say, "We have a great plan." This is what Obama does: "We're going to leave Iraq on a certain day."

CLINTON: We have to defeat ISIS. And we've got to do it with air power. We've got to do it with much more support for the Arabs and the Kurds who will fight on the ground. We're going to work to make sure that they have support--surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance help. They are not going to get ground troops. We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again.

Source: 2016 Commander-in-Chief forum by NBC News , Sep 7, 2016

I opposed Iraq War in 2004; it destabilized entire Mideast

CLINTON: My opponent was for the war in Iraq. He says he wasn't. You can go back and look at the record. He supported it. He told Howard Stern he supported it. So he supported it before it happened, and he is on record as supporting it after it happened.

TRUMP: I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from '04. You can look at before that. I was against the war in Iraq because I said it's going to totally destabilize the Middle East, which it has.

USA TODAY Fact-Check: Trump expressed mild support for invading Iraq when asked about it on the Howard Stern radio show on Sept. 11, 2002--about six months before the war started. Stern asked Trump if he supported a war with Iraq, and Trump responded, "Yeah, I guess so." Trump cited an Esquire article that appeared in August 2004 to show his opposition to the war. But that article appeared 17 months after the war started. The facts don't support either candidate's strong assertions.

Source: USA Today Fact-check on 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum , Sep 7, 2016

When we defeated Iraq, we didn't know what to do after that

I was totally against the war in Iraq. I was against the war in Iraq because I said it's going to totally destabilize the Middle East, which it has. It has absolutely been a disastrous war.

Part of the problem that we've had is we go in, we defeat somebody, and then we don't know what we're doing after that. We lose it, like as an example, you look at Iraq, what happened, how badly that was handled. When President Obama took over, it was a disaster. He took everybody out and ISIS was formed. If you look at the aftermath of Iraq, Iran is going to be taking over Iraq.

If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn't have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and wealth of that oil. They have among the largest oil reserves in the world. We go in, we spend $3 trillion, we lose thousands and thousands of lives, and then, we get nothing. It used to be to the victor belong the spoils. I always said: Take the oil.

Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer , Sep 7, 2016

Current leadership hurts military; need change to beat ISIS

Under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it's embarrassing for our country. You have a force of 30,000 or so people. I can see General George Patton spinning in his grave with ISIS we can't beat. I have great faith in the military. I have great faith in certain of the commanders. But I have no faith in Hillary Clinton. When she starts saying, "Oh, I would have done this," she's been there for 30 years.

We have had the worst and you could even say the dumbest foreign policy. Our results are so bad. We would have been better off had we never, ever spent $2 in that part of the world.

I have great respect for the [military leadership] that gave us the [national security] briefings. They were experts on Iraq and Iran and Russia. There was one thing that shocked me. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts said to do.

Source: 2016 NBC Commander-in-Chief forum with Matt Lauer , Sep 7, 2016

Cease-fire in Syria only if all parties involved

Q: Do you support the ceasefire in Syria?

CRUZ: We're hopeful that the violence will cease, but there's reason to be highly skeptical. Russia has enhanced its position because of Obama's weakness in the Middle East, weakness in Syria.

TRUMP: I don't because it not working and the countries aren't agreeing to it and the rebels aren't agreeing and Syria is not agreeing. It's a meaningless ceasefire. I would love it, but all parties have to be part of it.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

FactCheck: Supported Iraq invasion in 2002; opposed in 2003

Trump has claimed that he opposed the Iraq War before the invasion began--as an example of his great judgment. But in a 2002 interview with Howard Stern, Donald Trump said he supported an Iraq invasion. In an interview on Sept. 11, 2002, Stern asked Trump directly if he was for invading Iraq. "Yeah I guess so," Trump responded. "I wish the first time it was done correctly."

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was against the Iraq War before it began, despite no evidence of him publicly stating this position. Trump's comments on Stern's show are more in line with what he wrote in his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, where he advocated for a "principled and tough" policy toward "outlaw" states like Iraq.

Asked at the CNN town hall about the Stern interview, Trump said, "I could have said that. I wasn't a politician. It was probably the first time anyone has asked me that question. By the time the war started, I was against it, and shortly thereafter, I was really against."

Source: Buzzfeed FactCheck on 2016 CNN GOP Town Hall , Feb 19, 2016

We've spent $5T in the Mideast and gotten nothing

Gov. Jeb BUSH: Donald Trump wants to accommodate Russia. Russia is not taking out ISIS. They're attacking our team, the team that we've been training and the team that we've been supporting. It is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that Russia could be a positive partner in this. I would restore the military; the sequester needs to be reversed.

Q [to Trump]: You said that you could get along very well with Vladimir Putin. You did say let Russia take care of ISIS.

TRUMP: Jeb is so wrong. You fight ISIS first. You have to knock 'em out. You decide what to do after, you can't fight two wars at one time. If you listen to him, that's why we've been in the Middle East for 15 years, and we haven't won anything. We've spent $5 trillion dollars in the Middle East with thinking like that. We've spent $5 trillion dollars; we have to rebuild our country. We have to rebuild our infrastructure. you listen to that you're going to be there for another 15 years. You'll end up with world war three.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Get rid of ISIS, quickly: dry up their oil & their money

Q: You've said, "we've got to get rid of ISIS, quickly, quickly." How?

TRUMP: Well, four years ago, I said, bomb the oil and take the oil. And if we did that, they wouldn't have the wealth they have right now. Now, we're doing little pinpricks. If somebody's driving a truck, they give notice to the person driving the truck, "we're going to bomb." If they don't get out of the truck, the truck sails away with the oil. We don't want to bomb the oil, because we don't want to pollute the atmosphere. Can you imagine General Douglas MacArthur or General Patton saying we can't bomb because we're gonna hurt the atmosphere? You have to knock the hell out of the oil. And you have also back channels of banking. You have people that you think are our great allies in the Middle East, that are paying tremendous amounts of money to ISIS. So we have to stop those circuits. So between the oil and the banking, you will dry them up. But it should have been done four years ago, not now.

Source: 2016 ABC Republican debate on eve of N.H. primary , Feb 6, 2016

Assad is a bad guy, but his replacement could be worse

Gov. Jeb BUSH: We should have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels--nobody even knows who they are.

Carly FIORINA: Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria.

TRUMP: So, I don't like Assad. Who's going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they're going to be, and what they're going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place--we have nothing. And, I said, keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And, you know what? We should have given big chunks of the oil to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters, because right now, you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran, and ISIS.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Let Russia make moves in Syria; it's a quagmire

Q: Let's turn to ISIS and what should the United States do about it?

TRUMP: But we're going to have to do something very strong over there. We're going to have to take away the energy, the fuel, the money from ISIS, because, in the case of ISIS-- I've been saying this for years. We have to stop the source of money. And the source of money is oil.

Q: So you'd step up the campaign against ISIS even though you believe that Vladimir Putin is getting stuck in a quagmire by going in?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not looking to quagmire, I'm looking to take the oil. The Middle East is one big, fat quagmire. If you look at the Soviet Union, it used to be the Soviet Union. They essentially went bust and it became Russia, a much smaller version, because of Afghanistan. They spent all their money. Now they're going into Syria. I'm all for Russia going in and knocking and dropping bombs on ISIS. As far as I'm concerned, we don't have to have exclusivity on that.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Nov 8, 2015

We should have demanded a deal with Kuwait to liberate them

When Kuwait was attacked by Saddam Hussein, all the wealthy Kuwaitis ran to Paris. They didn't just rent suites--they took up whole buildings, entire hotels. They lived like kings while their country was occupied.

Who did they turn to for help? Who else? Uncle Sucker. That's us. We spent billions of dollars sending our army to win back Kuwait. Our people were killed and wounded, but the Iraqis went back to their country.

About two months after the war, several Kuwaitis came up to my office. They told me, "We want to invest outside the United States." We had just handed them back their country! They were watching TV in the best hotel rooms in Paris while our kids were fighting for them. And they didn't want to invest in this country?

How stupid are we? Why didn't the United States make a deal with them that outlined how they would pay for us to get their country back for them? They would have paid anything if just asked.

Source: Crippled America, by Donald Trump, p. 34-5 , Nov 3, 2015

Good that Russia has entered Syrian conflict

Q: We've seen Russia go heavily into Syria this week. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton; today, John Kasich; both say we should establish a no-fly zone in Syria. Would you do that?

TRUMP: I don't think so. I think what I want to do is I want to sit back and I want to see what happens. You know, Russia got bogged down, when it was the Soviet Union, in Afghanistan. They thought that would be quick and easy and they'll go in and they'll clean it up...

Q: You think Putin's falling into a trap?

TRUMP: I think it's not going to be great for them, there are so many traps. There are so many problems. When I heard they were going in to fight ISIS, I said, "Great."

Q: But they're not bombing ISIS.

TRUMP: Well, not yet. But they don't want ISIS going into Russia, either. So they're not bombing them yet.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 4, 2015

I'm pro-military but I opposed invading Iraq in 2003

TRUMP: I am the only person on this dais that fought very, very hard against us going into Iraq, because I said going into Iraq--that was in 2003, you can check it out--I'll give you 25 different stories. In fact, a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it. I'm a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military. I'm the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

Sen. Rand PAUL: I've made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We're still paying the repercussions of a bad decision.

Dr. Ben CARSON: When the issue occurred in 2003, I suggested to President Bush that he not go to war. So I just want that on the record.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

If Obama had attacked Syria, we wouldn't have refugees now

Somehow, [President Obama] just doesn't have courage. There is something missing from our president. Had he crossed the line and really gone in with force, done something to Assad--if he had gone in with tremendous force, you wouldn't have millions of people displaced all over the world.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Opposed Iraq war in 2004 & predicted Mideast destabilization

In July of 2004, I came out strongly against the war with Iraq, because it was going to destabilize the Middle East. And I'm the only one on this stage that knew that and had the vision to say it. And that's exactly what happened. And the Middle East became totally destabilized.
Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Disgraceful deal gives Iran a lot & gets nothing for us

Q: On Obama's Iranian nuclear deal?

TRUMP: I would be so different from what you have right now. Like, the polar opposite. We have a president who doesn't have a clue. I would say he's incompetent, but I don't want to do that because that's not nice. But if you look at the deals we make, whether it's the nuclear deal with 24 hour periods--and by the way, before you get to the 24 hours, you have to go through a system. You look at Sgt. Bergdahl, we get Bergdahl, a traitor, and they get 5 of the big, great killer leaders that they want. We have people in Washington that don't know what they're doing. Now, with Iran, we're making a deal, you would say, we want out our prisoners. We want all these things, and we don't get anything. We're giving them $150 billion dollars plus. I'll tell you what, if Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now because you'll quadruple--this, what's happening in Iran, is a disgrace, and it's going to lead to destruction in large portions of the world

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Bomb the oil fields in Iraq to take on ISIS

Q: You said you want to bomb the oil fields in Iraq to take on ISIS?

A: The only way you're going to beat them is that. You know why they're rich? Because they have the oil.

Q: But I don't think the government of Iraq would want us to bomb their oil fields.

A: There is no government in Iraq. The so-called government in Iraq went to Iran to meet with Iran. Iran is going to take over Iraq. That's as simple as that. I don't care about the government of Iraq. They're totally corrupt. Who cares?

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 28, 2015

Boots on the ground to fight ISIS

What does Donald Trump believe? Islamic State and Iraq: Send a limited number of combat troops on the ground.

In early 2015, Trump told CPAC that he felt the U.S. may need "boots on the ground" to fight the Islamic State. Soon after, he clarified to Fox News that he would send limited numbers of troops if all of his military advisers recommended it.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Jun 16, 2015

I said "don't hit Iraq," because it destabilized Middle East

I said it very strongly, years ago, I love the military, and I want to have the strongest military that we've ever had, and we need it more now than ever. But I said, "Don't hit Iraq," because you're going to totally destabilize the Middle East. Iran is going to take over the Middle East, Iran and somebody else will get the oil, and it turned out that Iran is now taking over Iraq. Think of it. Iran is taking over Iraq, and they're taking it over big league.

We spent $2 trillion in Iraq, $2 trillion. We lost thousands of lives, thousands in Iraq. We have wounded soldiers all over the place, thousands and thousands of wounded soldiers. And we have nothing. We can't even go there. We have nothing. And every time we give Iraq equipment, the first time a bullet goes off in the air, they leave it.

Last week, I read 2,300 Humvees--these are big vehicles--were left behind for the enemy. 2,300 sophisticated vehicles, they ran, and the enemy took them.

Source: 2015 announcement speeches of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jun 16, 2015

Hit ISIS hard and fast

From the dispute over funding the Department of Homeland Security ("the answer is 'we're going to fund, we're going to keep doing it"), to repealing ObamaCare ("which is a total lie"), Trump just wants to see a more aggressive approach.

When asked about ISIS, Trump said he "would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn't know what happened." He later claimed his approach would be one that historical military figures General Douglas McArthur and General George Patton would approve of.

Source: CBS News on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

Take $1.5T in oil from Iraq to pay for US victims

Mr. Trump said that the United States should "take" $1.5 trillion worth of oil from Iraq to pay for the cost of the war and give $1 million to each of the families that lost someone in the effort-- sparking applause from the thousands gathered for the American Conservative Union's 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Washington Times , Mar 15, 2013

Iraq should pick up the tab for their own liberation

When you do someone a favor, they say thank you. When you give someone a loan, they pay you back. And when a nation like the US sacrifices thousands of lives of its own young servicemen and women and more than a trillion dollars to bring freedom to the people of Iraq, the least the Iraqis should do is pick up the tab for their own liberation.

How much is it worth to them to be rid of the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and to have gained a democracy? In reality, that's a priceless gift. When I say they should pay us back, I'm not even talking about cash out of their pockets. All I'm asking is that they give us, temporarily, a few flows of oil--enough to help pay us back and help take care of the tens of thousands of families and children whose brave loved ones died or were injured while securing Iraqi freedom.

But does Iraq do that? No. In fact, they've made it clear they have no intention of ever doing so. Ever. The ingratitude of Iraq's leadership is breathtaking.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 9-10 , Dec 5, 2011

Stop Iran's nuclear programs by any & all means necessary

America's primary goal with Iran must be to destroy its nuclear ambitions. Let me put them as plainly as I know how: Iran's nuclear program must be stopped--by any and all means necessary. Period. We cannot allow this radical regime to acquire a nuclear weapon that they will either use or hand off to terrorists. Better now than later!

Pres. Bush authorized a covert program to "undermine the electrical and computer systems" at Natanz, Iran's uranium enrichment facility. What came out of that initiative was the Stuxnet cyber worm. It was unleashed against Iran's nuclear centrifuges and made them spin so fast they destroyed themselves. The operation was very successful and destroyed roughly 1/5 of Iran's centrifuges. No one knows for sure how many months or years we put back on Iran's nuclear clock. Some analysts say 6 months, others 1 or 2 years, But that's the point: the clock is still ticking.

Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 98 , Dec 5, 2011

Support Israel, our unsinkable Mideast aircraft carrier

The U.S. must continue to nurture and safeguard our special relationship with the state of Israel. This relationship must remain the cornerstone of our policy tactics through the entire Middle-East region, as it has been for administrations of both parties for more than half a century.

Why do we have this special relationship? It is not out of charity, guilt, or what some call “ethnic lobbies.” We have been there for Israel because Israel is there for us. Israel is a stable democracy in a region filled with dictatorship.

As Israel has matured, our close ties also bring America a fair trading partner and a fellow pioneer on the high-tech frontier of medicine and communications that will enrich Americans’ lives in the coming century. Our two countries must continue to stand strong together as pillars of freedom and progress.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.132-33 , Jul 2, 2000

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